Get more students by understanding the algorithm.
We work hard to connect tutors with thousands of new tutoring opportunities each day. Many tutors are able to build their businesses to great heights on the platform, but at the same time, a lot of tutors struggle to gain traction. The good news is that your success using Wyzant is in your control.
The best way to generate new opportunities is to rank highly in Wyzant’s search results. In fact, over 80% of new student requests go to tutors on the first page of search results. There are a variety of factors that go into determining a tutor’s rank, and my view is that the more transparent we can be with you about how this algorithm works, the better.
Simply put, the more hours you log on our platform, the higher you’ll rank in the search results. Note, there’s a significant “recency” factor here: lessons you log in the last few months are weighted much more than tutoring logged six months ago or longer.
I’m aware that this creates a fundamental chicken or egg problem: if you need to rank well to get students, but you need students in order to rank well, how do you get started? This blog contains a number of simple, practical tips that should help both new and established tutors alike. Also, I recognize that tutors new to Wyzant have an even more uphill battle as they try to secure their first students without any testimonials on their profile or a history of performance on the platform.
It’s important to first have a basic understanding of how the algorithm works. The two most important algo factors are conversion and retention.
Wyzant.com gets millions of clicks per day, and we track every one. We also track when you show up in the search results, even when it doesn’t result in a click through to your profile. With all this data, we are able to see a number of different conversions, and the higher your conversion numbers, the better.
The conversion that matters the most is the conversion that results when a student lead contacts you to begin lessons. This is called a “lead to lesson” conversion, and in general, a good conversion rate is 25% or higher. This varies depending on how many tutors a student contacts, the subject, and your hourly rate, and the algorithm does take all that into account. In all cases, the bottom line is that when a student contacts you for help, we suggest you do whatever possible to sell your services and begin lessons.
Tips to maximize conversion:
- Respond quickly to all student requests with the free Wyzant mobile app.
- Reply with a thoughtful, personalized message.
- Check in with the student in the thread if you don’t hear back after a couple days.
- Be extra flexible in accommodating your first new students.
- If you’re new to Wyzant, consider starting with a lower hourly rate than comparable tutors with more experience.
- Sell yourself! I’ll be writing another blog post specifically about this soon.
- Follow these best practices for getting students started with online tutoring.
- Offer an online demo.
- Hide your profile when you’re not taking new students.
Your first lesson with a student is pivotal. If you’re able to deliver a valuable, enjoyable tutoring experience, you can often set yourself up for a long-term engagement. In addition to being great for your business, retention is also a major factor in Wyzant’s search algorithm. Among the 100 highest-earning tutors on Wyzant, the average student retention is approximately 20 hours.
We understand that different subjects and situations call for varied numbers of lessons. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with providing only a few hours of tutoring to a student who is stuck on a very specific topic or studying for a test. Because of this, the algorithm looks at this factor on a per-subject basis. (In fact, all your Wyzant performance data is considered by subject.) After allowing for these adjustments, tutors who retain students longer will rank higher.
Tips to maximize retention:
- Be extra prepared for the first few lessons.
- Write effective, helpful lesson reviews.
- At the end of your lessons, check in with students about scheduling their next one!
- Schedule all your lessons through the platform - our data shows convincingly that doing so increases retention.
- Be judicious with cancellation fees.
- Enter all your lessons through Wyzant within 24 hours of the lesson.
We’re aware that some students and tutors are tempted to go “off-platform,” presumably to save money. Disintermediation, as we call it, is a surefire way to hurt your conversion and retention rates, lose rank in the search results, and stop getting new business. With the increased competition from online tutoring, this is now truer than ever.
Hopefully you now have a slightly better understanding of how the algorithm uses conversion and retention rates to determine search rankings. Use the tips above, provide a high level of service to students, and the algorithm will reward you!